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Friday, April 23, 2010

A quick but late day

Today started out running errands again. This time I had to pick up my medical records from Pope AFB and FedEx them to the Winston-Salem V.A. office so the wait time would be cut off (for me.) So we got started with school after our lunch period. We quickly got through all the lessons except for edit rewrite. I gave JD the choice of doing keyboarding or edit re-write. He chose keyboarding so we scraped the edit/rewrite lesson.

The devotion today was about movies seeming so real you get lost in them. Some people watch a movie and say, “Now I know what really happened.” But they depend only on the “facts” in the movie. The same could be said about some Christian historical movies. Some people think that every detail in the movies and media are 100% accurate. Our authority needs to cross checked with the bible for accuracy. It’s ok to enjoy the presentation just check the facts to see if they‘re real or not.

We only read once chapter in the bible. It was chapter 26. It told us all about Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing from Isaac. Isaac told Esau so go kill some meat and prepare it and then his would give Esau his blessing. That was where Rebekah told Jacob (her favorite son) to go get the animals and she would cook them for Isaac to eat. They had to disguise Jacob with goat skins on his arms and Esau’s clothes. They managed to trick Isaac and Esau was very mad. (I can only imagine.) Esau was planning to kill Jacob so Jacob had to flee the area until further notice from his mom.

The math lesson today was quick and easy. It was about Venn diagrams. That is the two or three circles that come together so if there’s common information you would put it where the circles come together.

The keyboarding lesson was quick and easy too. He is has completed level 2 (again) and stage 6. He earned a certificate for going through that level. Today he re-learned the letters “P” and “Q.”
The second to the last health lesson today was about setting goals. More specifically, setting both short term and long term goals. As well as future goals. One of the questions asked was, “What are some things that you’ve done that you are proud of? Answer: Almost eating a triple burger from Wendy’s and playing the organ by ear. His greatest accomplishment so far has been running a ½ mile without stopping and winning 1st place in the ¼ mile back at Highland Elementary School. Some future goals are running a full mile without stopping and buying a graveling hook. (I know…where did that come from?) He was not at all interested in setting future goals. So I helped him write on. CLEAN YOUR ROOM!

JD practiced his spelling words this week, but only if reminded. He pulled off a 100% on his test today. Yeah!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bring your child to work day

Today was both Earth Day and ManTech “Bring your child to work day.” So since JD is not in public school I took this opportunity for him to learn about real jobs. I crammed our lessons into the day before we left. I was amazed we actually accomplished so much in the allot amount of time.

Today’s devotion let us know today is Earth Day. God created the heavens and the Earth and said, “It was good.” Then he created things to fill the earth like: plants, birds, fish, grass, fruit, animals, and humans. His instructions to Adam and Eve were “subdue” the earth and “be masters.” He therefore expects us to be careful how we treat all that he created. (Okay, maybe I’ll start recycling.)

Today we covered a lot of ground in Genesis. We read chapter 25 and learned about the death of Abraham, Ishmael’s descendants, the birth of Esau and Jacob, and Esau selling his birth right for soup. Then in chapter 26 we learned about Isaac deceiving Abimelech, a conflict over water rights, and Isaac’s covenant with Abimelech.

The math lesson today was about “Histograms.” That’s a fancy way of saying “tally chart and bar graph to go with it to represent the data.” JD fully understood this lesson and breezed through it. The quiz proved to be more confusing or questionable. But JD still scored an 80%.

We went out of order a little today and did language arts next. I showered and let him accomplish this lesson while I showered for our lunch date with Jeff. The passage was about Mozart when he was young. He started playing the piano at a very young age and his dad used him for income. When Mozart became ill his father seemed more concerned about the loss of income instead of the health of his child. This lesson was designed to teach JD about “Inference.” He‘s already did the guided lesson earlier so today he took the second quiz. Just as I was finishing getting dressed I heard JD huff off. I asked what he scored. He very madly said, “30%.” That really means a 73% on the official printout.

Today for the email/snail mail lesson I had JD write a small letter for a special birthday that is coming up very soon. I dictated the letter and he copied it in his “best” handwriting. I don’t want him to loose the handwriting skill. He copied the letter much quicker than I thought he would. So off we went to our day with dad.

For civics today we went to Jeff’s workplace. First we went to lunch together and then we followed Jeff to his workplace. It’s a long hallway with many doors. Each door has different responsibilities. Jeff works in an office with two other men. We didn’t stay very long at all. At lunch we talked to JD about how boring it would be and Jeff joked about JD becoming bored after just fifteen minutes. I said, “That long?” It really only took about five minutes and he was turning circles in Jeff’s chair for entertainment. It was nice to see where Jeff’s new job was but I don’t see myself attending if they have “Bring your spouse to work day.”

Since we had the short trip to Jeff’s work today, JD checked his science experiment for the last class of the day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Easy Errand day

Today was an easy day. I turned it into a ¼ day because I had so many errands to run. The VA is really dragging their feet on deciding my VA case for disability. I am trying hard to be patient but my nerves are shot with this whole process. Apparently WAY back in Feb 2009 they scheduled me for an appointment. But I received no notification. Therefore, I missed the appointment and they denied all my disabilities. (Breathing.) So for one year now I have been communication with these people via phone, mail, and email to try to get another appointment. (Really? It’s that hard? Come on!) Every time I fill out the needed paperwork they only send me more to be filled out for the next step in the process. Meanwhile, I receive no tax free payments, no benefits, and no entitlements of a disabled vet like 90% of retired military. So the only two things JD and I officially did today for school was the devotion and reading the bible. I figured I can ditch all the lesson except those dealing with God directly.

The devotion today started out talking about fishing. It had JD imagine he was catching a shark with a rod and reel. Then it told the same story from the shark’s point of view. All the shark knows is the bait looked tempting so he took the bait. The next thing he knew he was caught. Then it transitioned into temptation being liken to the bait for the shark. It told JD about different warning signs to look out for and listen to. It said, “When you spot something that looks tempting but you think it may be bad, or he’s not sure, DON’T take the bait. Leave it alone and swim as FAST as he could.

We only read one chapter in Genesis today. Chapter 24 was long and told us all about the story of getting a wife for Isaac. The servant was instructed to go to Abraham’s old stomping grounds to look for a suitable wife for Isaac. Under no circumstances was Isaac to go to this land to look for himself. Once in Abraham’s old land the servant prayed to God that any girl he asked for water from the well would agree to give him water. Not only him but also his camels. The servant found a girl with a water jug. She did just what the servant requested to include watering the camels. They all (the servant, the girl, and the camel drivers and such) went to her house and explained God and Abraham’s plan for a wife for Isaac. The family asked Rebekah if she wanted to go with the servant to be Isaac’s wife and she agreed to go. (Can’t say I blame her. After all she had a fancy new nose ring to sport off. Smile) As I was reading this long story I wondered what it represented but I didn't really put much thought into it. www.JEFF.com says each story should be read three ways: propheticall, historically, and applicable. Turns out this is a story about Jesus finding his bride. I should have known that. (Duh.)

This is where our official school day ended. We did not do math, word bank, journal, music, or history. I’ve found in the past when I do have errands to run that I may have well ditched lessons verses trying to cram them in on the go. This of course made JD a happy boy.

We learned some kind of bad news while we were out. They are closing the Pope Air Force Base library 1 May 2010 because of Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC). It’s very complicated to explain the BRAC process. All I know is I’m getting tired of going onto Ft Bragg for all my military needs. The last time I drove way too far for my clothing sales needs. And every time I drive on Ft Bragg I seem to get lost.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Instant Obedient day

I created an “Instant obedience chart” because I can not keep going on like this. I ask and JD may or may not do it. So I said, “I'm tracking every time I tell you to do something.” I showed it to JD and explained that if there's more disobeys than obeys he will not play games on ANY system. It's amazing the number of times he's done it the FIRST time AND with a good attitude.

The devotion today was about weeds. They are after all the root of the problem with flower gardens, food gardens, and yards. Even after you pull them one single strand of root will cause another weed to pop up. (I hate weeds!) Today’s verse is from Hebrews 12:15 “Look after one another so that none of you will miss out on the special favor of God. Watch out that no bitter root of unbelief rises among you, for whenever it springs up, many are corrupted by its poison.” So since I have “extra time” these days I have paid special attention to all my flower beds. I’m disappointed and ashamed to say I am not an Iris grower. I want to rip them from the ground and never look back. They never seem to sprout flowers. Jeff says I have them buried too deep. Ugh! Out of 42 Iris’ in my flower garden…one will soon produced a flower. It hasn’t started to unfolded yet so I’m excited to see what color it will be and then…rip…rip…rip!

Today in the bible we read Chapters 21-23. Chapter 21 was about the birth of Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael being sent away, and Abraham‘s covenant with Abimelech. Chapter 22 was where Abraham’s faith was being tested. This was a particularly deep lesson. JD and I figured out that this story is a type of Jesus and God thing in the New Testament. The similarities leapt off the pages, like Isaac carrying his own sacrifice wood and God sacrificing His own son. I add humor to some stories for JD even though I know these are serious and real stories. Humor helps ADHD kids learn. So in this story Isaac was…um…looking around…um…for the sacrifice and then realized it was himself. After God told Abraham to stop I had Isaac folding his arms looking very mad at his dad. JD fully understood the seriousness of the story and completely grasped all the details. Then, we moved onto chapter 23 where it talked about the burial of Sarah.

The math lesson today continued with graphs. Today was about circle graphs. It was very confusing for me because it called for fraction usage. Ugh! JD did well on it and scored a 80% on the lesson and 90% on the quiz.

Right after math I received an email from Lifeway. It basically said, “Thanks, we looked at your writings, BUT…we are not able to use you as a writer at this time. If you have selected additional areas of interest you may still have open applications in our system.” I sent that message out to my family and friends and received emails back telling me not to get discouraged. I’m bummed a little but I know God has a plan for me. When I told JD I did not get the writing job and he got really defensive and said, “Well, they just don’t know what they’re missing!” (That cured any bruised ego I had.)

The social studies lesson continued with the Midwest region and the Great Plains region. We printed two outline maps and colored them for each region we studied. They also told us about the corn belt, the wheat belt, and the dairy belt in the 12 states of the Midwest region. We graphed that too. Then he took the chapter quiz and only missed one out of ten. We stumbled on the Great Lakes so we Googled some information and pictures. (It’s all confusing to me.) They did teach him how to memorize them though, Super Man Helps Every One.
I had JD do a language arts next. He read a passage dealing with comparing and contrasting. The story was about a boy who wanted every year for his birthday a dog. But this year he got a hamster. This was not a scored activity. It was merely a guided lesson.

The lesson in science today was about control groups. And it had a new experiment to run. It like the other resides on my counter top. It will only live there for a total of six days this time. **Side note - Speaking of science projects. I went to make a sandwich yesterday and the dern bread was moldy. GET OUT! REALLY? Because for two weeks I tried to make you mold and NOTHING!** Back to the new science project. We have six nails subjected to different kinds of oils and water. One nail is our control group. Nothing will happen to it. It will be used to compare to the poor drowning nails. Each day we will check for rust. JD also took a chapter quiz and scored a 90%. Yeah!

The last topic of the day was email/snail mail. I had JD write his daddy emails. It was a tough beginning. Trying to get JD to focus on only getting it out of his mind and onto the paper or computer screen is like trying to suck a golf ball through a garden hose. He is so concerned about spelling. I keep telling him, just get your thoughts down and we’ll tackle the spelling and grammar later. The two of them started writing back and forth in a font call “wing dings.” Jeff started it by saying he had a secret message for JD if he could figure it out. This made JD curious and he typed a lot faster. In between waiting for daddy’s emails to come back he started playing the organ. He wanted me to download the last song they played on the sinking Titanic. It was called Nearer my God to Thee. He hasn’t started playing it yet but tomorrow is music lesson time.

The “Instant Obedience Chart” really worked! Out of the 24 tasks I charted only four required two or three reminders. A definite step towards a happy and responsible child. He took full responsibility for all his actions today, and of course the majority of them were good choices and this attitude about the tasks and lessons were OUTSTANDING! Turns out my name for the most part of the day was “yes ma’am.” Not as endearing as I would want it but loving it nonetheless.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What is it about Mondays?

Today’s devotion was about “Running the Race.” Hebrews 12:1 says “let us run with endurance thee race that God has set before us.” Some people approach life like a sprint. They go as fast as they can. But we need to understand we can’t keep that pace up. So we need to prepare to run at a long distance. When I was ten years old I never thought ahead. I could imagine looking ahead even one decade let alone seven or eight. We need to listen to God, our coach, and run our race according to His plan.

Today in the bible we read Genesis 18-20. At the end of reading JD said, “I thought the bible was suppose to be a clean book to read.” Chapter 18 talked about the son promised to Sarah and when Abraham interceded for Sodom. JD cracked up, “Please do not get angry with me but would you destroy the city for ten righteous people.” Then, Chapter 19 was where Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed and Lot‘s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. JD also had something to say about this. He said, “Why did she turn around?” Well the answer is she is just like us. It‘s hard to let go of the world and follow God‘s instructions. Then, there was the story of Lot and his daughters pining for the family tree to be restored. Finally, in Chapter 20 Abraham deceived King Abimelech by saying Sarah was his sister again. Really? Cause you didn’t learn from the first time just a couple of chapters ago? Oh who am I kidding. I mess up daily. Do you?

We are doing data analysis in math. We’ve looking and analyzing graphs. Today it was line graphs. He learned about where to put the data and how to read the data. It was frustrating for me because he started the lesson with a bad mood because of the type of lesson it was. Like I have said before, “Some of the lessons are fun and some are not as fun.” We struggled through the lesson and started working on the very confusing quiz. That’s when I lost it with JD because I was struggling with question one and two so I took the quiz myself answering all the questions “A” instead of B, C, or D. I told JD that I wouldn’t count this quiz. My plan…which I failed to explain to JD…was to take the test and figure out how they got the answers and then go back and re-take the quiz. Once I finished the quiz with all my “A” answers he popped out of the chair like years of kids had cranked the Jack-in-the-box crank. I quickly said, “Whoa, where are you going?” He said, “Well, we’re done with math aren’t we?” Um, no. So when I called him back I got nothing but anger and frustration. I tried to help him understand how they got their answers in question one and two but he was uncooperative. So I said, “Fine, take this quiz on your own.” I left the room with “When you have a crappy attitude, it rubs off on those people around you.“ He did take the quiz on his own and he scored a 70%. After this episode I talked with him and told him that he has full control of his attitude. Not everything in life is fun. And an apology is in order.

I hoped after a long break that JD would be in a better mood. He was until I caught him looking at the keyboard during his keyboarding lesson. And of course when I called him out. I’m trying to instill in him to do the right thing when no one is looking. It’s a tough lesson for him to understand.

While we were on break from our last lesson JD became fixated on communication with the ants. He even tried to look it up on the internet. I think the idea comes from a game he has where “Pikmin” kill bugs and return them to a UFO ship for points. Then seeds pop out from the ship and you have to pick the Pikmin from the ground. The whole point of the game is to collect certain UFO ship parts and return them to the ship too. But the bugs get in the way. I actually like playing the game myself. So I suggested he use his imagination for his journal lesson. This automatically shut him down. He started naming all the bugs he would have to mention and the jobs he would assign to each one. I offered to dictate for him. I did prompt him with a few questions but most of this is from JD’s mind. If humans could communicate with insects I would like it. I would assign jobs to each one. The main mission here would be defending our house from the pesky termites. The ants would be my elite army. They would be fighting the termites in mouth to mouth combat. The worms would guard the wood that is underneath the house. The dragon flies would be the airplanes for ants to parachute off of. Each ant would carry onboard a dandelion puff for their parachute. The butterflies would be the scouts. They’d fly around and occasionally swoop up a termite to be a POW in the spider web. The rolly polly insects could be catapulted by the spiders single web silk. They would pull the silk back and an ant could cut the silk with their mouths. The rolly pollies would be instructed to roll into a tight ball for the launch. Once launched they’d stay in position until they hit the ground. They should keep rolling into the middle of a battle. Once there they would unroll and start fighting termites. The stink bugs job would be to back into a termite hole to release the secret chemical weapon. For tanks I would enlist the help of the centipede. They have good traction and can maneuver through tight spaces. The pool bugs could be used for underwater missions for cases where termites live near water sources.
The on-line art lesson worked today so he learned how we got each of our colors and how they made them all the way back in caveman times. He also learned they type of surfaces they used to paint on and what paints were good for art and what ones would fade in time. I actually had to tell him the 45 minutes allotted for art was up and that I didn’t require him to stay at the computer. But he stayed and played with the on-line lesson for a while longer.

JD has ten new spelling words for this week. They all start out the same again like the words country and county. This time before he “leaves school” for the day I will have him study his words.